for business. and what better way than to celebrate another world class construction project the panama canal. >> the excuse was the panama canal had been a proposition before congress for some time to have something to celebrate like the panama canal. of course the people of san francisco wanted it to show that they rebuilt their city and you know, one of the slogans was the city that knows how. >> reporter: so was born the concept for the panama pacific international exposition. the world's fair of 1915. raising as much as $16 million and beats cities such as san diego, washington, d.c. and new orleans. san francisco won the federal government's designation to hold the official fair to honor the opening of the panama canal. and with dry land as a premium, fair organizers decided to make land. and build the fair in a marshy area on the north shore of san francisco, edged with creeks and coves. work began in 1911. and that's where the sand came in. this is filmore street in the marina district. today the bay lies about a block and half that way. but the shoreline used to be across the street.